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The People’s Notre-Dame Cathedral Design CompetitionPrior to April 15, 2019, the cathedral contained one of the oldest surviving timber frames in Paris, involving around 52 acres of trees from the 12th century. Each beam was made from an individual tree. For this reason, the lattice of woodwork was nicknamed "the Forest." This design concept seeks to bring the people to see the forest for the trees!A key characteristic of the roof design would be the reinstatement of heavy-timber sections (like the York Minster) with the surfaces treated to increase its resistance to fire supplemented by sprinklers. The structural frame would reinstate the “forest” so that people can get up close and experience the massive structural assembly, portions of which could be exposed by a stacking retractable glazed roof during appropriate times. People from all walks of like could enjoy a snack before taking in a movie cast upon an IMAX-size screen that could include films on the city’s historic places including the construction of the cathedral between the 12th and 14th centuries. Other uses could include the people’s dining hall, spiritual concerts, a trade skills development centre, and a conference venue that celebrates the city’s historic landmarks. For the school children, a visit to the bees of Notre-Dame that survived the historic fire will reinstate a learning opportunity that explores how 180,000 Buckfast bees are used to make honey to feed the hungry.The cathedral’s prominent role in Paris’s economic, spiritual and cultural fabric would be expressed as a beacon, a landmark of exceptional international importance, and a place of resiliency from ravaging fires to the scars it has endured from the French Revolution. A new spire that glows amidst the night sky would allow the people to experience the cityscape from a vantage point that has never been had and to explore close-range mysteries of the towers that one will discover, are not exactly twins. Incredible views across the city could be afforded at different levels in a space that is designed for observation and reflection. The new spire could be capped with a reconstructed rooster since it was also lost in the fire, symbolic of the spiritual lightening rod that protected the parishioners belowProviding new opportunities to understand the technological and structural significance of the cathedral as one of the earliest structures built with exterior flying buttresses, this design seeks to deliberately involve the people in close-up lessons of Paris’s incredible architecture while at the same time, offering opportunities to step back and appreciate the forest of heritage conservation – across a cityscape – the country – and the world.
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